Lewis Ritson has a possible shot at the IBF junior welterweight title on the line this Saturday, and the 27-year-old “Sandman” will enjoy home field advantage in front of fans in Newcastle, England, facing Jeremias Ponce in an eliminator on DAZN and Sky Sports.
Ritson (21-1, 12 KO) was last out in Oct. 2020, where he received what most felt was a pure robbery decision win over Miguel Vazquez. Even promoter Eddie Hearn Tweeted immediately that he felt Vazquez had gotten jobbed.
To his credit, Ritson says that while he hasn’t watched the fight back, he accepts the word of someone important: his father, who told him the truth.
“I haven’t really watched it back, but a couple of days later I went to my dad’s house and asked him if he’d watched the fight,” Ritson said. “He said yes, and I asked him to be truthful about what he thought of it. He was honest and said we got the rub of the green, we got very lucky, and we got gifted a decision, but that it is up to me whether to dwell on it or improve on it.
“That’s what we’ve done, we’ve gone away and made a few changes in camp. It was just a clash of styles. I think I was probably Vazquez’s best performance in a few years and it was one of my worst to be fair. You live and you learn, there was maybe a few things that we could have done differently in that fight. We know that now and we’ve got the experience in the bank.”
How to Watch Ritson vs Ponce
The attitude Ritson carries from that fight is a good one, as there’s nothing he can do about it, really. He can’t go to the commission and beg them to reverse the decision. He can only move on, and on that score, he’s made the move train under his father again, parting ways with Neill Fannan.
“I’m back with my old man. I had a little bit of thinking to do after my last fight. I half hinted that I wanted to come home, and my dad half hinted that he wanted to be back training me,” he said. “It was the right move for me and we’ve been flying in camp. A happy fighter is a dangerous fighter, it’s probably the first time in a while that I’ve been quite happy.”
Ponce (27-0, 17 KO) is a bit of a wild card, unbeaten but mostly untested. The 24-year-old from Argentina will be looking to make a real splash, and obviously a win also puts him right in line for that IBF shot, whether it comes against Josh Taylor or — more likely — later this year with the vacant title on the line, against Subriel Matias.
And Ritson isn’t looking past the visitor at all, knowing that just because someone hasn’t fought at the top level yet, it doesn’t mean they can’t.
“I’m fully focused on Ponce. We’ve got to make sure that we beat him and beat him well. We know what he’s coming to do and he’s coming to win. He’s coming to have a go,” he said. “Stylistically he’s a bit like me — good jab, throws to the body, and stands in front of you. If it goes like we think, then it’s going to be a very crowd-pleasing fight and a hard night.
“He could be one of those undiscovered gems out of Argentina. We’re not taking him lightly, we’ve seen the South Americans come over, one beat my mate Robbie, there’s a few that have upset the apple cart, so we’ve got to make sure that we’re on the ball and it doesn’t happen to us.”